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somethin’ on the side

A rendition on one of my absolute favorites, Vegan Kitchen Sink Salad, which was originally inspired by the Abundant Harvest Salad I gorged on at Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Orlando, Florida. Make this huge salad at the beginning of the week and enjoy for quick lunches and last-minute dinners all week long. Not only is it vegan and chock full of vegetables and fiber, it is a great allergen-free dish. I usually make it with quinoa, but this time I experimented with millet, a gluten-free grain-like seed that is more commonly known as bird feed. Literally. We’re eating bird food. Feel skinny yet?

1 1/2 cups millet, prepared according to package’s directions, cooled
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on a bias
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced in a bias
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
3 oz sprig mix, or other salad green
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Lemon tahini dressing, for drizzling (though I made a bigger batch, 1/2 cup tahini and 1/2 cup water, to accommodate this bigger recipe)
Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, to garnish, toasted or raw

1. Combine cooked millet with carrots, celery, broccoli, chick peas, corn kernels, spring mix, and tomatoes.
2. Drizzle with tahini dressing and garnish with seeds. (Leave the salad undressed and drizzle just before serving.)

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With these 40- and 50-degree days, I am getting ready for spring. This salad takes advantage of crisp, raw asparagus, both shaved with a vegetable peeler and thinly sliced for both texture and presentation. Served alongside stewed chicken to lighten the fare.

1 bunch asparagus (the thicker the stalks, the better)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pecorino, shaved (using a vegetable peeler)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel and discard the rough, bottom inch or two of the asparagus stalks.
2. Peel half the asparagus stalks over a bowl. Do not peel the tips: leave them whole.
3. Thinly slice the other half of the asparagus on a bias, again, leaving the tips intact.
4. Add pine nuts (I left them raw out of sheer laziness, but feel free to toast), shaved pecorino, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Gently toss to combine.

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Served alongside crispy avocado fries, and adapted from this recipe for Broccoli Carpaccio with Grapes and Watercress, from Food & Wine magazine. Bright, tangy, crisp. Got leftovers? Just stir it all together and the broccoli will soften slightly and make for a great lunch the next day.

For the dressing:
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt (not Greek–you want it to be thin enough to drizzle)
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad:
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup seedless red grapes
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

1. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and set aside.
2. For the salad, thinly slice broccoli florets and arrange on 4 plates or a large platter.
3. Cut half of the grapes in half, and then divide among the plates, or scatter on top of the platter.
4. Sprinkle the salad with seeds, and then drizzle with the dressing.

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1 tablespoon canola oil
1 leek (or 1 small onion, or 2-3 shallots), thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 heart of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 cup brown rice, prepared according to package directions
1 bag kimchi
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (omit to make it vegan)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or Tamari, to make it gluten-free)

1. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute leeks and celery until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add romaine lettuce and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted.
3. Add brown rice, kimchi, frozen peas and cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in fish sauce and soy sauce and serve alongside fish, or alone as an entree. (I served it with tuna, which I encrusted with homemade gomasio–a seasoning of ground sesame seeds and salt–and seared.) Alternately you can top with a fried or poached egg for a savory, umami-rich breakfast or brunch (this is what I did with the leftovers).

Notes: YUM. Maybe add edamame, or garnish with sesame seeds.

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I know, I know: another kale salad, but I just had to do it! I made this, along with hard-boiled eggs and fresh fruit, as part of a healthy brunch spread. Did I mention, there were also lots and lots of mixed berry mimosas. Not the most traditional brunch, but paired with good company and conversation, it was perfect.

1 bunch red kale, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
Juice of 2 limes (or 1 large lime)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 avocado, diced
3/4 cup cooked hull-less barley

1. In a large bowl, massage kale leaves with lime juice, oil, salt, and black pepper until they become wilted and tender.
2. Add avocado and barley and toss to combine.

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